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Working from home is a rapidly growing employment trend. One study shows that 80 to 90 percent of U.S. workers say that they’d like to work from home.
Another study reports that 70 percent of workers work from home one day per week and 53 percent do multiple days per week.
This doesn’t include the millions of freelancers across the world.
If you want to be a remote employee or freelance worker, it’s important to go about it the right way.
Below you’ll find ten tips for working from home to get you started.
1. Avoid These Major Red Flags
Work from home scams are unfortunately common, and sometimes they look like real job opportunities. Learning how to spot and avoid work online scams is crucial.
It’s impossible to know about every scam, but many of them follow the same patterns. The list below contains the biggest red flags you need to know about.
- Paid Training Or Starter Kits – Scam companies promise you’ll make tons of money, but only after you pay for training and starter kits.
- The Overpayment Scam – This is a very common scam where a person or employer accidentally overpays you and requests that you wire money back.
- Pyramid Schemes – There’s a fine line between illegal pyramid schemes and multi-level marketing companies; the Federal Trade Commission explains the differences.
- Too Good To Be True – If a job listing promises unusually high income and very few work hours, it’s likely not a legit opportunity.
Visit the Consumer Information Job Scams page to learn more about scams and how to report them if you find one.
2. Spruce Up Your Resume With These Skills
Updating your resume is important whether you’re a freelancer or remote employee. You need to showcase hard skills and soft skills to land a work from home job.
Soft skills are all about your character and personality. There are attributes that make you stand out as a job candidate. Examples include:
- positive attitude
- effective time management
- problem-solving skills
- ability to communicate effectively
- being a team player
Hard skills are abilities you’ve learned through experience or education. Some of them are related to character development, and others revolve around the ability to use different resources. Some examples of hard skills include:
- fast and accurate typist (find out your typing speed for free)
- proficiency in MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.
- machine operation (computer, multi-line phone systems, etc.)
- excellent spelling and grammar
- strong customer service skills
Focus on hard and soft skills that relate to your career industry. Proficiency in Adobe Photoshop is relevant to art and design jobs, but it’s not as necessary for data entry positions.
Lastly, add skills that relate to working from home. Consider what skills and traits you need to work efficiently without a boss over your shoulder, and list the ones you think of.
3. Use These Remote Jobs Boards
There are dozens of great job listing websites but stick to ones that feature remote work. These job boards have work from home positions for all major industries.
You’ll find different types of employment: contract, freelance, part-time, full-time, and more. The boards below make it easy to customize and filter search results while job hunting.
- Remote.co – This website lists remote job openings that you can sort based on industry, and the type of position (part-time, freelance, etc.) is mentioned next to the job title.
- SkipTheDrive – SkipTheDrive lets you search for jobs by keyword or category, and the website also offers work-from-home resources.
- Jobspresso.co – If you work in the tech or marketing industries, check out Jobspresso for thousands of remote job listings.
- ProBlogger – Writers of all types should visit ProBlogger for remote writing job listings that are updated every day.
- Mediabistro – This job platform has listings for writing, editing, marketing, and other creative-type jobs.
- ZipRecruiter – ZipRecruiter isn’t exclusively for work-from-home jobs, but they’re frequently listed on the platform.
- Indeed – Indeed is one of the most popular job board websites, and they include remote gigs in their listings.
Several of these websites let you upload a resume for free. Add your resume so potential employers and clients can see what you bring to the table.
4. Join These Freelance Work Platforms
If you want to work from home as a freelancer, joining freelance work platforms is a must-do. Most of them work like this:
- Sign up for a freelancer account. Each platform below offers free accounts for freelancers, but some of them have paid options as well.
- Fill out your profile. This page is visible to clients and showcases your skills, work samples, certifications, and more.
- Apply for freelance gigs listed by clients. On many platforms, clients list an hourly rate or set fee per project.
- If the client accepts your proposal, you complete and deliver the project.
- Once the project is delivered, you’re paid within a short amount of time. The waiting period varies with each platform.
The process will vary a bit depending on the platform, but the general steps are the same. Check out these popular freelance websites that quickly give you access to job listings.
- Upwork – With over 3 million jobs posted per year, Upwork is the largest freelance platform.
- Guru – Guru was established 20 years ago, and it’s still going strong.
- Freelancer – This platform has members in over 240 countries. The top three job categories on Freelancer.com are IT and software, design and media, and writing.
- 99Designs – If you’re a graphic designer, make sure to join this global freelance platform.
- PeoplePerHour – This U.K.-based platform is similar to Upwork, and it’s available to U.S. freelancers
To maximize your opportunities, join as many freelance platforms as possible. Keep your profile updated and sign up for e-mail alerts when new gigs are posted.
5. Create A Free Web Page And Portfolio
This step is easier than you might think, and it’s crucial for all types of remote workers. Set aside time to create a simple web page with a short bio, your portfolio, and your contact details.
Free website building platforms have pre-selected designs for web pages. The layout and graphics are all set, and you can customize whatever you’d like. Some free platforms include:
Buying your own domain (YourName.com vs YourName.WordPress.com) – isn’t absolutely necessary, but it’s useful and fairly affordable. The average domain name cost about $10 to $12 per year, and it gives you a credible, professional online presence.
6. Network Yourself On These Platforms
Networking is essential if you want to expand your career opportunities. Fortunately, there are many free platforms you can use to network yourself.
You can create an Instagram business account and Facebook business account to showcase your talents and services. Creating a LinkedIn profile lets you display your resume, certifications, and more to potential employers.
7. Always Research Potential Employers & Clients
You’ve learned how to spot scams, but it’s still important to do research. This tip applies whether you’re working for a single client or a full-fledged company.
The truth is that anyone can post a job listing online or seek out freelancers. In some cases, these people and companies simply aren’t legit.
Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to research if you use simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions. These are just a few examples:
- Does the client have a website?
- Does the client have an online presence (LinkedIn, etc.)?
- Does the employer have a legitimate e-mail address (company name versus yahoo.com)?
- Can you find reviews of the employer or company online?
A few minutes on Google should help you answer ‘yes’ to these questions. If the answer is ‘no’, it’s best to proceed with caution and dig for more details.
8. Always Have A Backup Plan
When I first started freelance writing, the first advice I received was “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.” This is still one of my top rules for freelancing, but the tip applies to other remote positions.
At any given time, you may lose your highest-paying client or position without notice. Companies go out of business, buyers change their minds, websites get shut down – the list goes on and on.
The financial loss can hit you very hard if you don’t have a backup plan. If you’re a freelancer, stay active on multiple freelance platforms and never have just one client.
If you work remotely for a company, consider picking a side gig as your backup plan. These are work-from-home jobs that supplement your income. I recommend reading these posts:
- 35 Work From Home Gigs That Pay Weekly Or Daily
- These 10 Online Side Hustles Will Make You Money Fast [Updated 2019]
- 43 Legit Ways To Make Money Online
If you’re interested in finding more gigs, check out the Make Money section of Frugal For Less. There are hundreds of ideas for making money online.
9. Complete Free Career-Oriented Online Certification Courses
There are thousands of career-related certifications are 100 percent free thanks to massive open online courses (MOOCs). These are college courses that anyone can take, and they usually take a few weeks to complete.
Some free MOOC platforms charge a fee for the actual certificate of completion, and the cost typically ranges from $30 to $100. This isn’t a bad deal considering the average cost of one college class is $594.
The list below features MOOC platforms that offer both free and paid certifications. You’ll see some examples of career-related course options.
- OnlineDegree.com – You receive a certified transcript for courses you pass, and courses include topics like Business – Introduction To Marketing & Strategy.
- edX – This top MOOC offers more than 2,400 courses like Design Thinking For Leading And Learning. Free courses offer Verified Certificates for $49.
- HubSpot Academy – This software company offers free certification courses like Inbound Marketing and Growth Driven Design. Many of these business and marketing courses only take a few hours to complete.
- FutureLearn – This platform partners with universities to offer hundreds of free online courses like Digital Skills: Grow Your Career and Fundamentals Of Project Planning And Management. You can buy a Certificate of Achievement for $69 per course or get unlimited access to courses and certifications for only $269 per year.
Use the search functions on these websites to find courses related to your area of work. Before you start a course, you’ll see a detailed course overview, how long it lasts, the costs (if applicable), and more
10. Have Realistic Expectations And Goals
Last but not least, make sure you’ve set realistic work goals. Freelancing and virtual employment are very different from the traditional 9 to 5 job setting.
Transitioning to remote online work takes time, patience, and research. You may start out with a few clients or a part-time gig and experience trial and error, but this is totally normal.
With this in-depth guide, you’ll successfully find real work from home jobs. Enjoy the benefits of remote work while earning a part-time or full-time income.
If you want to learn more about making money online from home, we’ve got you covered. Check out the articles below for more information.